When Once I Was Gone


by Shome Dasgupta

Chocolate this and chocolate that—I taste until the soothing goes away. Run one mile, run two miles, run twenty miles. I go until the soothing releases. Read this, write that, laugh a little, cry a lot—my emotions seek to let go of the soothing (or whatever).


Soothe and soothe and soothe. Relinquish and regain. The past days are not to forget, but I can’t remember anyway. And the way the cigarette puffs drift up toward the moon, thinking about loneliness and the difference between that and being alone, which I won’t ever figure out—I don’t think, at least, because I know no better. At least for now. At least for back then. At least for never.


And there is nothing wrong with not knowing—I hear there can be no reckoning with the fear of the unknown. And there was once a time when I had it all, but all was nothing to be had, come to find out, because all was nothing but a facade into escaping from the unknown.


Who knows.


Chocolate this and chocolate that.


Sugar addiction—that’s a start. There’s a start. Right? 


I’ll have an iced mocha, two chocolate chip cookies, a brownie, and a small carton of chocolate milk.


Then I’ll order a dessert, please. Thanks.


 Transitions and transferences.


I’ll run it off a year from now, I would like to think. At some point.


The voices in my head are strangers to me, ones I’ve never met before and will never know until I say hi. Or maybe bye. 


Once upon a time, a million years ago I took a sip—a long sip that found its way. It found its way while I lost mine. There was no life—just that sip and my own broken world. Thus.


Saying goodbye was what I was best at. I never said it. I just left. I never came back and I’ll never want to go back. Want. 


To let go, to give in to patience, to come to terms with the intersections of the past, future, and present—crossroads full of scars and lights. 


Chocolate this and chocolate that. Immersed in the space between the texts, I hide and close my eyes so that the world feels closer. Closed.


Still trying to figure out which works best. Still trying to take it one day at a time. Still expecting the worst. Maybe one day it’ll change. All that I know is that I’m here now, when once I was gone.


Shome Dasgupta is the author of i am here And You Are Gone (Winner Of The 2010 OW Press Contest), The Seagull And The Urn (HarperCollins India), Anklet And Other Stories (Golden Antelope Press), Pretend I Am Someone You Like (Livingston Press), and Mute (Tolsun Books). He lives in Lafayette, LA, and can be found at www.shomedome.com and @laughingyeti.